Lucerne, another beautiful Swiss town with its own lake, is the gateway to central Switzerland. It is a top destination for tourists because of its many souvenir and watch shops as well as its proximity to the excursion destinations such as Mount Pilatus and Mount Titlis. While visiting Lucerne be sure to take a walk across the one of Europe’s oldest wooden bridge and most photographed bridge in Switzerland, Chapel bridge.
This bridge is hard to miss because it connects the Old Town to the New Town. Lucerne has many museums devoted to the arts including the Sammlung Rosengart Museum which contains many of Pablo Picasso’s most famous works, and the Richard Wagner Museum dedicated to the controversial 19th century composer who lived in a town along the shores of Lake Lucerne. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to take a boat cruise on Lake Lucerne; one of the options is to Verkershaus where the Swiss Museum of Transport, Planetarium, and “Swiss Chocolate Adventure” are located.
Solothurn is a small town in Western Switzerland, just 60 minutes from Zurich by train, that is known for its Baroque architecture. Here in this town, the 3 major cultural influences of Switzerland come together; Solothurn combines the French charm, German practicality, and Italian grandeur. This city is sometimes referred to as the Ambassador Town because from the 16th to 18th century Solothurn was the home of the French Ambassador to Switzerland. The Old Town is a car-free zone with many historic monuments, small shops, and inns.
There are magnificent churches around every corner in the Old Town. In fact, there are 11 churches and chapels as well as 11 fountains and towers. The St. Ursus Cathedral has eleven altars, eleven bells, and there are eleven levels between the eleven steps in the front of the Cathedral. This cathedral also took eleven years to build. Solothurn has a special affection for the number eleven because the local brewery, Öufi, which is Swiss German for number eleven, produces a beer with the same name.
Switzerland is the perfect place for those who are not only interested in city life but also for the nature lovers. Mount Titlis is the highest peak in Central Switzerland with a summit of 3,238m (10,623 ft). This mountain offers breathtaking views as well other unique attractions. The Titlis Rotair, the first revolving aerial cable car in the world, continues all the way to the top where a number of sunny terrace restaurants can be found.
While at the summit be sure to join the “Titlis Cliff Walk” and cross Europe’s highest suspension footbridge. There are also two ways to experience glaciers on Mount Titlis including a walk through the magical Glacier cave, a snow tubing adventure in Glacier Park, or an impressive view from above with the Ice Flyer.
Basel is located in northwest Switzerland on the Rhine River at the point where France, Germany, and Switzerland come together. It is the third largest city in Switzerland, behind Zurich and Geneva, and has one of the highest standards of living in the world.
This city boasts a beautiful Old Town, modern architecture, and a large market square. The largest concentration of museums in Switzerland is in Basel, including the Basel Art Museum, the Kunstmuseum, which contains the first collection of art available to the public in Europe. Basel is also the hometown of international tennis superstar Rodger Federer.
About 20 km north of Zurich is the town of Winterthur. Traditionally this town was known as being an industrial center without a lot of tourism. However, Winterthur makes for a great day trip from Zurich to see the largest pedestrian only Old Town in Switzerland. This Swiss town is full of shops, restaurants, and markets that help bring the Old Town center to life.
One of the main attractions in Winterthur is the Swiss Science Center Technorama where visitors can try over 500 interactive experiments. The Swiss heritage site, Schloss Kyburg (Kyburg Castle), is just outside of the town of Winterthur, and offers many attractions for visitors such as a tour of the original dungeons and a 15th century chapel. The castle is situated high above the Töss River and offers spectacular views of the Swiss countryside.
A trip to Switzerland would be incomplete without paying a visit to the capital city of Bern. This Swiss city with sandstone facades, fountains, and historic towers is known for its medieval vibe. Take a walk through the Old town to discover the Zytglogge (Clock Tower) with an Astronomical Clock, Parliament Building, and covered shopping promenades that extend throughout the city. The Rose Gardens offer a spectacular view of Old Town and when the skies are clear you can see far off into the Swiss countryside. Be sure to check out Bear Park, just below the Rose Gardens, where visitors can view Bern’s famous bears right in the heart of the city.
Bern is also home to many historical and artistic museums. The Zentrum Paul Klee (The Paul Lee Center) building is a world-renowned masterpiece designed by Italian architect, Renzo Piano, and displays the most important works of artist Paul Klee. The Swiss capital is also well known for its wide variety of food such as Mediterranean, Vegan/Vegetarian, and even traditional Swiss.
Rigi Kulm is the highest peak of Mount Rigi, referred to by some as the queen of the mountains, that reaches a height of 1797m above sea level. From this vantage point, incomparable panoramic views. Gazing to the north one can see many lakes including Ägeri, Lauerz and Zug, and even as far as the Black Forest in Germany and the Vosges mountains in France. Turning southward, visitors will be greeted with breathtaking views of the Alps.
The peak can be reached by taking the cog-wheel train from either Vitznau or Arth-Goldau. There are a variety of hiking activities and a few restaurants at the top of this mountain as well.
Escape the city and head up to Mount Pilatus where one will be dazzled by the panoramic views of Lucerne and surrounding areas. Mount Pilatus is best known for its many legends about souls and dragons. One story claims that Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, was buried in Lake Pilatus and his soul haunts the mountain. It is from this Roman Governor that the locals say the mountain got its name. Another legend says that dragons live on the mountain and since the medieval times there have been several alleged dragon sightings.
Whether legends are true or not, one thing that cannot be missed on a visit to Mount Pilatus is the worlds steepest Rack-Railway. This Rack-Rail train takes passengers to the top of Mount Pilatus where there are panoramic views and various activities. In the summer months hiking, barbeques, and even a toboggan run are possible. While in the winter months there are Christmas markets and astronomy evenings.